City officials cut the ribbon Friday morning on the city’s new $78.5 million St. Petersburg Police Department headquarters.
The 168,000-square-foot building, at 1301 1st Ave. N., replaces an outdated structure across the street and brings the police department into the future, said Mayor Rick Kriseman.
“This is our recruitment tool, this is a way for us to attract the best and the brightest,” Kriseman said. “Now, I’m not sure if the police station across the street is technically the worst in the country, but I do know that [this one] is the best in the country,” Kriseman said.
See the gallery below for a glimpse inside the new headquarters.
The new facility includes technology such as monitors and smart boards that allow for better information sharing. There are 1,450 photovoltaic panels on the roof of the parking garage — the largest city-owned solar array — and a water cooling plant for high-efficiency air conditioning, sensor-controlled LED lighting, automated water controls and a type of concrete that reduces the impact of “urban heat islands.”
“Public safety is important to us. Sustainability is important to us. Both of them can be found on this site,” Kriseman said.
The main level emergency operations center, which houses the main data center for all city operations and serves as a data back-up site for Pinellas County emergency operations, “is the crown jewel,” said Assistant Chief Mike Kovacsev.
A third-floor emergency communications center is designed to prevent lightning strikes or power surges from interrupting crucial operations, and serves as primary back-up to the Pinellas County’s regional 9-1-1 call center.
Chief Anthony Holloway singled out the reflection areas and landscaping on the south side of the building. There are 15 oak trees, each with a plaque with the name of a fallen officer.
“We lost 15 officers in the city of St. Petersburg. That way we can remember them for the sacrifice they made,” Holloway said.
The city broke ground on the project just under a year ago. Harvard Jolly Architecture, in partnership with AECOM and Ajax Building Corp., designed and built the new structure. It occupies 6.3 acres, and is built to withstand winds of up to 195 miles an hour, a Category 5 hurricane. Most of the funding for the building came from Penny for Pinellas funds.